Holy unexpected miracles Batman! A comic exhibition in Durban and a one day turn around on this post. The times they are a changing!
Last night the new(ish) Open Plan studio off Umgeni road hosted Kablam! A Comic Art Exhibition and Book Sale. I was never a major comic book reader as a child (at least not the Marvel or DC variety). I read Garfield, Far Side, and the occasional Madam & Eve strip. I collected the cards, but never had the full set. Over the years though I’ve been making a concerted effort to explore this oft misunderstood, low-brow-cum-avant-garde mash up of narrative experimentation. Such fringe pursuits have always fascinated me. The obsession with posters and mint condition books remaining in their plastic sleeves, forever unopened. To me, stories are stories, and there are many ways of telling them, and comic books can be one of the most interesting ways of doing so.
Part of the reason for my ignorance concerning comical narrative is Durban’s distinct lack of a visible comic book scene. We have zero comic book stores, which means the general public only get exposed to what Exclusive Books has on their shelves at any given time, which, frankly, is not much. Thankfully a culture of DIY self-publishing is alive and strong in our city, and to my great joy I found myself beholding some truly top quality books last night (I bite my thumb at you, Exclusive Books!) Among those on show were Luke Molver, and Durban’s weirdest resident and former DIY contributor, Alistair Laird. Deon De Lange has to be one of the most talented illustrators I’ve come across, and his posters and books were nothing short of international standard.
It made me happy to see the diversity and quality of work coming out of a scene so starved in this city. It also makes me sad that such a scene is so starved. Perhaps it’s time for Durban to have its own indie bookstore.
What say you?
The exhibition will be on for the next two weeks until the 14th of November, go check it out.
*All images © Russell Grant